22 January 2008

A Dying Breed

While shopping with my mother recently, I was trying on shoes when I heard, from the next aisle over, "Ohh, I like them shoes."

I met my mother's eyes and ground my teeth, seeing my own expression mirrored on her face. Bad grammar! Ugh. We both laughed. "Y'know..." I said, "When you and Dad used to correct us, it drove me crazy. Now I want to smack people who don't speak properly."

"Nuh-uh," she drawled, too amused.

Among the many things we weren't allowed to say....'nuh-uh' was tops on the list, followed by 'yeah,' 'shut up,' 'dude,' 'ain't,' and 'like,' when used in the following manner..."so, I was, like, so tired and stuff, and she was like, no way!" Valley Girl-isms, 'gross' and 'totally' were verboten. (Yes, I grew up during the 1980s.) Swearing was out of the question, too. I never heard either parent swear until I was well over 21, and I never swore in front of either of them until long after I was married.

This insistence on correct speech was yet another square thing my parents did that made them so much stricter than my friend's parents, and lame, if you'd asked me when I was about 11. Now, however, I wish fervently that more people paid attention to good grammar and basic fundamentals.

I have to attend a business writing workshop, and I'm beyond annoyed by it; does it look to you like I needs help with my writin' skillz? A friend who is an educator pointed out to me that everyone could use a refresher course from time to time. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But if more people paid attention to the basics, this wouldn't be an issue.

I know that the 'rents laugh these days when my sisters and I are annoyed with bad grammar, poor diction, and the like. They chuckle to themselves, having proved to the sibs and I yet again that they knew what they were talking about.

Like, dude, that's totally annoying, fer sure.


Dawna said...

Bahahaaaa! That's awesome. I used to correct my parents' bad grammar; a habit I've given up long ago. Now, my kids hold the brunt of it.

You should have seen it the summer before last when my daughter befriended a kid whose verbiage made The Beverly Hillbillies sound intelligent. *shudders* Every night it felt like I had to deprogram my own child. "We don't use the word 'ain't' around here."

Lucy Arin said...

eeek! I'd have been climbing the walls.

Don't people *know* how ignorant they sound? Kids, by and large, are forgiven for the occasional mistake...but not for consistency in bad grammar.

John said...

Hey, ya'll ain't gonna' believe it but I LIVE among folk who routinely butcher the king's, queen's, and assorted other's English. A common conversational thread around our dinner table usually includes the line, "You may live among them but you don't have to talk like them." We are doing our best to raise intelligent kids to sound like intelligent adults.

Pet peeve numero uno is ye olde' subject verb agreement! There is a lot of people around here who just don't get it.

Furthermore, a local church sign reads, "When all else fells try prayer." I kid you not. It bothers me when people publicly display their ignorance with pride. I'll post the photo later today over at my place.

I am proud as puddin' about being southern. I also enjoy the assumption of ignorance foisted upon me because of an accent. It can lead to an unfair advantage when talking with people who are intellectually superior because they don't add syllables to their words ;-).

Lucy Arin said...

There's a Texas accent I'm particularly fond of....oh, wait, sorry, this isn't fandom.

Accents aren't the problem. My own Midwestern twang is something I find annoying, but any other regional accent usually delights me. (C'mon, you KNOW that y'all think Yankees from up nawth don't speak properly anyway. ;-)The true problem is butchering the language, and the ignorance.

Keep up with the nagging of the kids. Someday, they'll thank you. My sisters and I are all grateful for the grammar police behavior of my parents.